Sunday Fun – No Football, Fresh Air, Fun for Family!

Sunday Opening of The Shakespeare Market

By Tom Dillon

The Shakespeare Market is coming to town and it aims to move in! Approximately 20 vendors and community groups will gather on the grounds of the American Shakespeare Festival Theater this Sunday, January 17th from 10 am to 1pm.

Food and craft vendors will continue to bring the fruits of their labor to the people of Stratford on the first and third Sundays through April 18th. And if all goes well, it just may become an institution in town.

Whether driving in or walking down, you will find an amazing array of choices from Connecticut raised pork and angus beef, by Eaglewood Farms and Why Not Farm. Lovers of the Monday Farmer’s Market at Paradise Green, faithfully run by Laurie and Ed from Pepe’s Cream of the Crop, will recognize Dave Finn of Eaglewood Farms who has been participating for years. You can thank Dave Finn for suggesting the idea of trying to start a new market in the dead of winter!

Add flavor with Dave’s Angry Sauce. Say hi to Mo Jenkins, owner of Mugger’s Marrow. He’s been making “Stick ‘Em Up!” grilling glazes and marinades since 2015. Betzy’s Latin Flavors will bring her hand crafted frozen empanadas and in the future may be serving them up hot and fresh!

Wave Hill Breads, a family business run for the past 15 years, will be there too offering artisan breads featured at markets throughout the state. Last May they were listed on as one of the 100 best bakeries in America!

Sara Blersch from Daffodil Hill Growers will have winter squash, carrots, potatoes, Japanese turnips and a few other surprises.

The Shakespeare Market is much more than food and craft. Community partners include Sterling House and the YMCA.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library will all be there too. Janet Lengel, born and raised in Stratford, a retired school teacher and all around civic champion will share information about how we can team up to support literacy by providing a book to every child every month from birth to six!

Angela Capineri of Your Mind in Bloom, a local business, will be there to share information about her services in tutoring and resume writing.

Other community groups are signing up in droves to come and share what they are doing to create good things in Stratford and will be featured in future markets. Whether you are looking for something new to wear, make your skin feel great or want to add a breath of fresh air with some new decorations you can find something at the market.

Stratford residents Jennifer Csedrik and Flora Shein are also veterans of the great Monday Farmer’s Market at Paradise Green. Bringing joy with inspirational apparel and reimagining your favorite family textiles into Memory Bears are Jen and Flora’s passion. Whitney Foss down in Lordship was instrumental in making connections that brought some great crafters to town. Whitney’s She Shell Gifts makes decorative items from the shells that line Stratford’s beaches. Pink Moon by Brook, Teresa Rainieri Fine Art, Shop Our Dyes all came from a pop up craft market hosted by The Pantry in Fairfield. Resident Annemarie Michaud of Designs of Homestead offers beautiful woodworking decorations that can be made custom to order.

Nicole Georgakis of Keep it Simple Skin care will be there with handcrafted cold press soaps for you and your dogs! Leashed dogs are permissible, so bring them along to get their opinion too.

Hot food will be provided by Paradise Island food truck. Luis Negron is a veteran of the Latin Festival held every year in town. Gladys Ramos together with Olga Pena were instrumental in making the connection with Luis! More food trucks and hot food vendors are in process with their approvals and if all goes well they may be there too. Stay tuned!

These are COVID times and people are expected to have their masks covering the mouth and nose at all times while at the market. Much of the parking lot behind the White House will be roped off for a pedestrian only zone. Vendors will be spaced out and there will be wide pedestrian aisles. One-way foot traffic will be enforced and everyone should stay socially distanced.

The vendor’s booths and the hot food area have been separated so while inside the pedestrian area patrons are asked to always have their masks on. Complete COVID guidelines will be posted on before the event. The good news is, if you ever feel claustrophobic, there are 14 beautiful acres abutting the Housatonic River.

If there is something missing, hang tight! More than 70 vendors have reached out to participate in the past 10 days and plans are being made to include more and more as the market develops. If you have a great idea, bring your own pen and paper and there will be a suggestion box at the exit. This is Stratford’s market, so don’t hesitate to reach out to participate or contribute ideas that will bring us all together every first and third Sunday of the month!

The Shakespeare Market is our chance to bring our community together and Celebrate Stratford. The possibilities are endless, as COVID allows there is plenty of room to expand the number of vendors and you can expect live music and a variety of performances from local dance studios to the martial arts. The Shakespeare Market can be the place where our community shines together.

But wait, there’s more…and if you want to find out what it is “Mask Up, Come on Down, and Social Distance with Us!!” Come join us in our inaugural opening.

Mask Up Stratford!

Stratford Library Offers Masks for Sale to Mark 125th Anniversary

by Tom Holehan
Stratford Library Public Relations & Programming

“We shall, everyone, be mask’d!” – William Shakespeare

Stratford Library supporter William Shakespeare urges all to wear a mask during the pandemic. The Library is currently offering patrons a special edition mask to celebrate its 125th anniversary (1896-2021).

The masks, part of the Library Board’s fundraising efforts for the anniversary, are currently available for purchase, along with matching tote bags, at the Stratford Library Check-Out Desk for $10 each.

Masks are adult sized with a protective particle-resistant outer layer and polyester fiber middle layer for particle filtration. It is made of a soft, breathable cotton inner layer and has a pocket for additional filters. It also features adjustable ear loops, a flexible nose clip and 3D chin design.

Stratford Library hours are: Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays: 10 am- 5 pm and Tuesdays/Wednesdays: 1-8 pm.

Let Your Voice Be Heard: Future of Education

Stratford Public Schools:
Superintendent Search/January 2021

General Survey

The Town of Stratford’s Board of Education is presently undergoing an Executive Search to find a new Superintendent of Schools, as our present Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson has resigned.

The Board of Education has developed a survey that they are asking town residents to complete to assist them in their understanding of what our residents are looking for in a new superintended.

Please participate in the survey – Let Your Voice Be Heard!

The purpose of this survey is to provide the Stratford Board of Education with a broad perspective of community opinion about the most desirable attributes for a new superintendent of schools. Your responses to the following survey items will enable the Board to create a profile of these attributes that will guide the recruitment and selection of a new superintendent of schools by the Search Committee.

(Asterisks denote required fields.)


Constitution State Celebrates 233 Years
January 9, 1788

Footprint of today’s democracy started with Stratford resident William Samuel Johnson.

On January 9, 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, which had been drafted the year prior at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. There, Connecticut’s delegates—William Samuel Johnson, Oliver Ellsworth, and Roger Sherman—had been instrumental in breaking a deadlock between larger states, which favored proportional legislative representation based on population size, and smaller ones, which advocated that all states have but one vote each. Their “Connecticut Compromise” led to the two-house legislative system still in place today.

In 1787, William Samuel Johnson played a major role as one of the Philadelphia Convention’s delegates. His speeches on the subject of representation called for a strong federal government to protect the rights of Connecticut and the other small states from encroachment by their more powerful neighbors. He supported the New Jersey Plan, which called for equal representation of the states in the national legislature.

Johnson favored extension of federal authority and argued that the judicial power “ought to extend to equity as well as law” He denied that there could be treason against a separate state since sovereignty was “in the Union.” He opposed prohibition of any ex post facto law, one which made an act a criminal offense retroactively because such prohibition implied “an improper suspicion of the National Legislature.”

Johnson was influential even in the final stages of framing the Constitution. He gave his fullest support to the Connecticut Compromise (a compromise adopted at the Constitutional Convention, providing the states with equal representation in the Senate and proportional representation in the House of Representatives ), which foreshadowed the final Great Compromise, with a national legislature with a Senate that provided equal representation for all states and a House of Representatives based on population. He also served on and chaired the five-member Committee of Style, which framed the final form of the document.

The next step following the Philadelphia convention was to secure ratification from the state legislatures. This was no straightforward matter. Debates waged over how strong the national government should be in relation to state governments. In Connecticut, as elsewhere, the dividing line typically placed merchants and those of the wealthier, more urbane social strata in opposition to farmers and those from rural areas. The former, seeking stronger trade protections that a centralized government could bring, supported adoption of the Constitution; the latter, wary of federal taxation and the institution of a new merchant-aristocracy, viewed it with skepticism.

With such factors in mind, Oliver Ellsworth addressed Connecticut’s ratifying convention in Hartford on January 4, 1788. He opened the debates by arguing that the Union was necessary for mutual defense against outside aggressors, to maintain peace among the states themselves, and to promote more favorable trade and economic conditions at home as well as abroad. Days later, on January 9, by a vote of 128–40, Connecticut ratified the Constitution of the United States.

William Samuel Johnson, born on October 7, 1727, he is most notable for signing the United States Constitution, for representing Connecticut in the United States Senate, and for serving as the third president of King’s College, now known as Columbia University. His house stands today at the corner of West Broad Street and Main Street.

And this is why Connecticut is known as The Constitution State!

Be Part of the Solution. Make your voice heard!

The Stratford Housing Partnership is conducting this community survey about housing needs in Stratford and possible housing strategies for the future.

The Housing Partnership is a Town committee established in 1990 and reinvigorated in 2020 to, among other things;

1.  Examine housing needs and housing opportunities within the Town.
2.  Periodically advise Town Boards and Commissions with regard to housing matters, including affordable housing.
3.  Develop and activate a long-range plan to satisfy housing needs in the Town (as required by State law).

This survey was developed by members of The Stratford Housing Partnership with the assist of our Planning and Zoning Administration. Your input will help the Town of Stratford plan for the future of the community.

Thank you for participating!

Follow this link to the SHP Survey:

Stratford Housing Partnership consists of appointments made by Mayor Laura Hoydick.
The members are:
Representative of the Zoning Commission Christopher Silhavey
Representative of Planning Commission Harold Watson
Representative of Inland Wetlands & Waterfront Commission Christopher Blake
Representative of Stratford Housing Authority Elizabeth Sulik
Representative of Economic and Community Development Commission Jennifer Sheldon
Member of the Local Business Community Desmond Ndzi
Member of a Public Interest Group Beth Daponte
Stratford Urban Planning Professional Susmitha Attota
The next meeting will be scheduled for the end January at which time they will discuss the results of the survey..

Food Bank

Drive-Thru Food Pantry

Holy Name of Jesus Church
1950 Barnum Avenue, Stratford CT
Tuesday, January 12th, 3:00 – 4:00 PM

To encourage social distancing and help limit the spread of COVID-19, the Stratford Health Department, CT Food Bank, and Holy Name of Jesus Church have partnered to offer a drive-thru food pantry. We ask for all those attending the drive-thru pantry to adhere to the following directions:

  • Stay in your car at all times
  • Pop your trunk (if possible)
  • A pre-selected bag of food will be placed in your car
  • One bag per car

Unwind (Yoga) and Chill Out (reading)

Two new programs for the month of January have been announced at the Stratford Library.

by Tom Holehan,
Public Relations & Programming at the Stratford Library

Evening Program, Unwind Yoga will be conducted on Thursdays January 7, 14, 21 at 7 pm via Zoom

De-stress from the day and prepare body and mind for a restful night with online yoga. Kripalu Yoga instructor, Savannah Prezioso will guide you through yoga poses to release stress and calm your mind all from your own home. Prezioso has been practicing yoga for over 13 years. Her classes are intuitive, playful and inspiring. She creates a safe space for students to facilitate a connection between breath and movement allowing for a powerful meditative experience. Her classes are accessible to beginners and seasoned practitioners alike with various opportunities for modifications.   Classes are free and will be held via Zoom on weekly Thursdays January 7, 14 and 21 at 7 pm.

Sign up for each class to receive the Zoom links.

Bibliotherapy: Reading as Therapy Tuesday, Jan 26 at 7 pm via Zoom

Reading can be a wonderful escape and offers so many benefits. Join the Library to learn about fascinating historical attitudes regarding reading as a therapeutic activity, including time periods when books were formally prescribed to patients. Mary Mahoney, Historian and Digital Scholarship Coordinator at Trinity College, will present an overview of bibliotherapy, and then bring viewers to the present with thoughts about reading during this modern-day pandemic.  Since some people are reading more during this time, while others are finding it hard to focus, the speaker will lead a brief discussion and offer suggestions for reading reflection prompts as a way to nourish one’s life as a reader, even when it can be difficult to concentrate enough to read.  A Grab ‘n’ Go “Bibliotherapy Kit” with items to enhance your reading experience will be available for registrants to pick up. Call: 203.385.4164 for further information. “Bibliotherapy is a creative arts therapies modality that involves storytelling or the reading of specific texts with the purpose of healing. It uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy.” Wikipedia

Fun and Games for Children of all Ages!

Planned Children’s Events in 2021 Stratford Library

by Tom Holehan
Public Relations & Programming at the Stratford Library

The Stratford Library Children’s Department continues to offer stimulating programs for local kids and their families. Kick off the New Year by participating in one (or all) of the following events.

DIY Storytimes
The Stratford Library posts DIY Storytimes on the website at every Saturday. Families can enjoy these online storytimes any time. Themes for January include Time, Animals Dress Up, Penguins, Opposites, and Snowy Days.

The Great Family Read
The Great Family Read, a monthly book program for children grades 3 to 6 and their families. Each month, the Library will choose a high-interest book that both kids and their grownups will enjoy. The title will be available via the Library’s Hoopla ebook multi user platform, so each person in the family will be able to borrow their own digital copy of the book at the same time. January’s Great Family Read will be “New Kid” by Jerry Craft.  This graphic novel tells the story of Jordan Banks, a seventh grade artist who feels torn when his parents enroll him in an academically rigorous, but not very diverse, private school. “New Kid” is the winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature, and a current nominee for the Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award.

Register for this program at on the Events page, and the Library will provide you with discussion questions, information, and fun activities/supplies related to the book that families can use to create an engaging literacy experience.

School Support Tips
The Library posts School Support Tips every Monday to help families learn at home. Visit the website at to see new tips each Monday. Past tips have included the Library’s “Book Care Song” and “Borrowing ebooks.”

Online, Live Storytimes
The Stratford Library offers winter storytimes via Zoom beginning January 4. Toddler Time meets Mondays at 10:30 am for ages 1 to 2. Preschool Storytime meets Tuesdays at 10:30 am for ages 3 to 5. Baby Lapsit meets Thursdays at 10:30 am for ages 0 to 1. Storytime will not meet Jan. 18. To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

Draw with Josie
The Stratford Library’s volunteers Josie, Maggie, and Natalie invite children ages 6 to 12 to an online drawing class. The first class meets Monday, January 4 at 4 pm. Learn to draw Groot and Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy. Children should bring a pencil, eraser, and paper to the Zoom. To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

Read to Dogs
Children can practice their reading online with therapy dog Drago on Tuesday, January 5 at 4 pm courtesy of the Stratford Library. Therapy dogs love to listen to children read, even online! To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

Phonics/Alphabet Parade
Grab ‘n’ go kits will be available throughout January for Phonics Parade (ages 5-8) and Alphabet Parade (ages 4-6) learning. Register online to reserve a kit then pick it up within two weeks. With Alphabet Parade, children will receive a simple craft relating to a letter of the alphabet and a writing practice sheet. With Phonics Parade, children can complete phonics practice and a game or activity that emphasizes sight words and letter sounds. To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

Coding Club
Stratford Library’s Coding Club meets online Wednesday, January 6 at 4 pm for children ages 7 to 12. Each class has two activities: a demonstration of a Scratch coding project that children can work on independently and a group activity involving secret codes, made-up languages, or hieroglyphics. Learn to think like a coder! To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

Homework Help
The Stratford Library offers Homework Help to children in grades Kindergarten to six on Thursday nights at 6:30 pm over Zoom. Children should bring homework and will work with teen tutors on assignments. This program is courtesy of the Carol Pieper Memorial Fund and the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund. To register, visit the website at, then choose Events

Astronomy Club
Stratford Library’s Astronomy Club meets online on Monday, January 11 at 4 pm for ages 7 to 12. January’s topic is “Constellation Challenge” – learn about the winter constellations and how to find them in Connecticut’s night sky. To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

Tuesday Craft Nights
The Stratford Library Children’s Department offers online crafting with grab ‘n’ go kits on Tuesday nights this winter. The January project is “Apron Decorating.” Ages 3 to 6 meet January 12 at 6:30 pm on Zoom and ages 6-12 meet January 19 at 7 pm on Zoom. Future Tuesday crafting projects for February and March will be listed on the Library’s Events calendar. To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

Book Scientists
Book Scientists is a new grab ‘n’ go learning experience offered by the Stratford Library Children’s Department. Each month, children ages 3 to 12 can sign up for different Book Scientists topics. Each Book Scientists kit will include two Library books, a craft and/or an extension activity. Library books will be chosen by the child’s age. The Book Scientists kits for January are Pets and Weather, and children can sign up for one or both. Pick up Book Scientists kits with a Library card in the Children’s Department. When you are done, return the Library books by their due date and keep everything else!

To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

Learn About Dog Training
Children and families are invited to join the Stratford Library and Miss Lauren, owner of Drago and Veloce, for a short Zoom about dog training, dog shows, and tips for training a dog. Miss Lauren, owner of two Spinone Italiano dogs, will show commands her dogs have learned, what skills dogs display in shows like the American Kennel Club’s, and tips for training a dog. All kids who want to learn about dogs are welcome to attend and ask questions. To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

Nutmeg Book Group
The Stratford Library’s Nutmeg Book Group will meet Monday, January 25 at 7 pm on Zoom to discuss “Front Desk” by Kelly Yang with children grades 4 to 6. Front Desk stars Mia and her family as they work at a motel with an unscrupulous owner. 10-year-old Mia manages the front desk and helps the guests while pursuing her own dreams of becoming a writer. Registered participants will receive a grab ‘n’ go kit containing a free copy of the book and other materials, courtesy of the Carol Pieper Memorial Fund. Children should read the book prior to the discussion. To register, visit the website at, then choose Events.

The Library is currently offering limited computer use for adults with reservations and contact-free Take Out borrowing services, online programs, take and go program kits, Reference Chat and 24/7 online access to ebooks, audiobooks, movies and music

For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit

Merry Christmas from the Staff at the Stratford Crier

May your holiday be blessed with the love of family and friends. Though this Christmas will be different, we are all in this together, and we are united in wishing for Peace and Love. Here’s wishing you happiness and health to you and yours in the year ahead.

The Big Story: A Winter Market for Stratford

The Shakespeare Market

Coming Soon!! The Shakespeare Market – A  bi-monthly outdoor food and craft market on the grounds of the American Shakespeare  Festival Theatre at 1850 Elm Street in Stratford.

Targeting JANUARY 17, 2021, on the First and Third Sundays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. beginning January 17 th through to April 18th . In development now but are aiming for a January 17th launch with crafts, food vendors and activities supported by community organization partners.

Get outside! Visit one of Stratford’s hidden gems! Check out the vendors! Talk a brisk walk and see the beautiful Housatonic River, learn about Stratford’s history at Mac’s Harbor, or wander down to Bond’s Dock!

Don’t let this be the Winter of Your Discontent! Don’t let COVID keep you inside! Come out and socially distance with us on first and third Sundays from January 17 through April 18.

Find Out More!!!!